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Putting the ‘art’ in smart planning

6 March 2015

Large public infrastructure projects will guarantee funding for public artworks under a new policy adopted by Council.

This week, Council adopted the Yarra Public Art Policy 2015-2020, a strategic document designed to help Council increase opportunities for the commissioning of public art in Yarra.

One of the features of the policy is the ‘Percent for Art’ scheme, which prescribes funding levels for public artworks from the budget of major civic projects.

The policy will ensure that public art is considered at the earliest planning stages of projects, allowing the design and function of the artwork to better integrate with Yarra’s public spaces and buildings.

The ‘Percent for Art’ would be triggered by Council infrastructure projects valued over $1 million, and would be set at 1% of the budget of those projects, capped at $1 million.

This practice is not a new approach and has been adopted by many local governments across Australia, but it will give Council the ability to more thoughtfully integrate art into its projects and enhance Yarra’s public spaces and buildings.

It will also present more opportunities for artists to contribute works of lasting significance to the local area.Each project, whether its improvements to a library or landscaping a park, will have unique characteristics so this policy will allow us to commission works that suit the context of the site.

The policy also includes guidelines to assist private developers to include public artworks into their buildings and sites.The light walls designed by Priscilla Bracks for the Eden Apartments development in Abbotsford is a great example of a recently completed project that has successfully integrated public art into its final design.

The guidelines set out a clear approval process for private developers to follow when proposing public art in their developments. The guidelines will enable greater collaboration between private developers and Council when it comes to considering and commissioning public art so that the final result is one that the community celebrates and contributes to Yarra’s rich arts and cultural history.

pdf format Public Art Policy 2015-20 (214.10 KB)

pdf format Guidelines for Public Art in Private Development (597.38 KB)



Further information
Siu Chan
Coordinator – Arts and Cultural Services
9205 5045

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